Release the Hounds!: Broadway's A Christmas Story, The Musical Finds Pooches to Steal Christmas
By Adam Hetrick
Two pooches named Pete and Lily will wreak havoc and snag a turkey in the Broadway production of A Christmas Story, The Musical, producers announced Sept. 24. Tony-honored animal trainer William Berloni is grooming the pups for their upcoming Broadway debut.
The two bloodhounds have been rescued and trained by Berloni for the infamous scene in the Christmas-set classic, where a holiday dinner is interrupted when the "Bumpus Hounds" cause a ruckus and run off with the family's turkey dinner.
"Offstage, Pete and Lily are a sweet, well-mannered pair of bloodhounds," Berloni said in a statement. "The two (who have a clear bond indicating that they may even be siblings) were discovered in Canada at Ontario Bloodhound Rescue. I have since transported the pair to my farm in Connecticut where training has begun. In October, they will move to Manhattan, where an apartment has been secured for them so they can explore NYC before starting rehearsals with the cast."
A Christmas Story has a score by Richard Rodgers Award-winning Dogfight songwriters Justin Paul and Benj Pasek, and a book by Joseph Robinette. Tony-winning director John Rando (Urinetown) and Tony-nominated choreographer Warren Carlyle (Chaplin, Follies, An Evening With Hugh Jackman) helm the production.
The musical will begin previews Nov. 5 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre and will officially open Nov. 19. The run is currently scheduled through Dec. 30.
As previously reported, Dan Lauria (Lombardi, "The Wonder Years") will portray Jean Shepherd, with John Bolton (Spamalot, Contact, Titanic) as The Old Man, Tony Award nominee Erin Dilly (Nice Work if You Can Get It, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) as Mother, Zac Ballard as little brother Randy, Caroline O'Connor (Chicago, "Moulin Rouge") as school teacher Miss Shields and Eddie Korbich (The Little Mermaid, The Drowsy Chaperone, Wicked) as Santa Claus.
Casting for the central role of Ralphie is currently underway.
The ensemble features Tia Altinay, John Babbo, Charissa Bertels, Grace Capeless, Zoe Considine, Andrew Cristi, Mathew deGuzman, Thay Floyd, George Franklin, Nick Gaswirth, Mark Ledbetter, Jose Luaces, Jack Mastrianni, Mara Newbery, Lindsay O’Neil, Sarah Min-Kyung Park, J.D. Rodriguez, Analise Scarpaci, Lara Seibert, Jeremy Shinder, Luke Spring, Beatrice Tulchin and Kirsten Wyatt.
According to producers, "In 1940's Indiana, a bespectacled boy named Ralphie has a big imagination and one wish for Christmas—a Red Ryder BB Gun. A kooky leg lamp, outrageous pink bunny pajamas, a cranky department store Santa, and a triple-dog-dare to lick a freezing flagpole are just a few of the obstacles that stand between Ralphie and his Christmas dream. A Christmas Story, The Musical! is holiday entertainment that captures a simpler time in America with delicious wit and a heart of gold."
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